GUSHER: For Longview ISD parents and others who have turned out for town hall meetings with school board members and administrators. We know it has been difficult for both sides. It can be frightening for many folks to voice concerns in such a public forum, and we imagine district officials haven’t liked much of what they’ve heard from skeptical and unhappy parents. Such discourse has been overdue in this district, and we commend the district for providing the forum. More important, we hope the district takes criticism to heart.
DUSTER: For dismal turnout in Tuesday’s statewide constitutional amendment balloting. As in East Texas, many municipalities and school districts also had important issues on local ballots. The 88 percent of registered voters who couldn’t be bothered to cast ballots should be ashamed of themselves. It’s disappointing to us that about one-tenth of Texas voters so often are allowed to make decisions for the entire state. Texas must do more to encourage voting. Unfortunately, it is doing the opposite. We get the government we deserve, and if this election is any indicator, we don’t deserve much.
GUSHER: For Hallsville ISD voters’ approval of a bond issue that will allow the district to continue growing and provide better facilities for students at all levels. Though turnout was poor statewide, we were gratified to see district voters excited enough about voting that lines formed at polling places and voters waited an hour or more to cast their ballots.
GUSHER: For the Kilgore College Rangers’ great season. Though it ended in a tough first-round playoff loss to New Mexico Military Institute, the Rangers owe no one any apologies for their 8-2 season, the team’s first under rookie head Coach Willie Gooden. We’re confident of greater success next season.
GUSHER: For Josephine Cowart and Matthew Guck, the pair of Longview High School violinists who advanced through the audition process to win spots to play at Carnegie Hall as part of the High School Honors Performance Series. They will join others from across the nation and around the globe for the Feb. 2 performance. Both also are part of the East Texas Youth Orchestra in Tyler. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to start such a program in Longview to grow more fine young musicians in our city?
DUSTER: For an August electric service outage whose costs to East Texas business and individuals are still being added up. This week, we learned the cost to Eastman Chemical Co.’s operations in Longview: A staggering $15 million, according to a quarterly filing by the company. AEP Southwestern Electric Power Co. has said it will not take responsibility for any such costs of the outage, which it said was caused in part by lack of maintenance around transmission lines.
GUSHER: For the official opening of Longview Transit’s new Transfer Center at downtown’s Multimodal Transportation Center. Though it’s been operating for awhile, the grand opening marks another step in a years-long process to create a passenger- and carrier-friendly center around the Historic Longview Train Depot.
DUSTER: For longstanding and continuing disagreement over East and North Texas regions’ water plans. For years, fast-growing North Texas has cast greedy eyes on East Texas watersheds for construction of a reservoir to provide water in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We are gratified the two sides at least have agreed to keep talking, because we know a solution is not going to be easy. It’s an issue with huge and personal impacts in both regions. Getting more Texans involved in public discussions should help lead to resolution.
GUSHER: For steady, exciting progress by planners for Longview’s sesquiecentennial next year. The latest news was a decision for a big time capsule to be planted at the city’s central fire station downtown on Cotton Street. It’s a smart move to put the capsule at a location that’s played a big role in our city’s history. Again, we offer our thanks to all who are working to make the celebration a success.